In recent years, crossovers have become the ideal city cars. Their SUV styling combined with sedan-like comfort has been a sure way to success, but another factor that makes them enticing is their higher ground clearance. With the number of humps in the metro, combined with the usual flooding during the rainy season, crossovers proved to be an all-year metro-manila-proof car.
That advantage bites them back. Unless you cram in an all-wheel drive system and a bigger engine or turbo, some crossovers are being relegated as just being a city car. Well, Kia won’t let that happen with their Stonic.
They lent me a Flash Yellow Stonic EX for a few days, and also took me and a few others out for a drive to Nasugbu, Batangas just to flaunt that their newest crossover goes beyond its price tag.
The Stonic is more than at home in the city, it’s a paradise for this crossover. Its high ground clearance ensures you won’t scrape your car in BGC and Morato’s towering road humps. The suspension is also good enough to absorb most road ruts, except the very deep ones like manhole spaces in asphalt.
Size is also not an issue for the Stonic in any way. There’s enough elbow room even for a wide man like me, while the backseats have enough headroom and legroom, even in my natural driving position. Getting out of the rear seats can be tricky though because of the tighter space between the center pillar and the rear wheel arch.
It’s compact nature also allows it to weave in and out of traffic easier, while parking is a cinch even in tight parking slots. It also helps that there’s a rear camera with rear guide lines and rear sensors.
First time drivers will also find the Stonic easy to drive thanks to its modern features. Apple and Android connectivity are standard across the range, while this EX trim enjoys 6 speakers, automatic climate control, stability control, and hill-start assist in case the car in front of you in Shangri-La’s parking ramp suddenly stopped.
It may be at home in the city, but the Stonic is more than prepared to take you outside of it to breathe some fresh air. The engine is good enough to take you in some uphills with confidence, but it will definitely take some time because this is just a 1.4L with 98hp. The 6-speed automatic helps a lot in complementing that thanks to its manual override.
With the Stonic riding higher thanks to its 185mm of ground clearance, I thought it would be a mess to drive on the mountains but I was happily wrong. It was well-mannered up in the curves of Nasugbu even at considerable speed. The steering, as vague as it is, was weighted nicely and was very responsive to inputs. The only hindrance I had was my confidence in tackling the curves since I’m not familiar with the road, but overall, the Stonic aced the mountain pass.
The cargo area is also very generous in that it can easily accommodate camping gear for a glamping trip or a picnic date. If that’s not enough, you can always fold the backseat and ditch the tonneau cover for more space.
Even if you grow from a couple to a small family, the Stonic can still meet your needs. The cargo is big enough for strollers and luggages, while the rear seats are ISOFIX ready, with the doors having child locks. With the space it has, it can easily be your reliable steed for years to come, unless you plan on having more than two kids.
If you’re 5’7 and below and not really into fast mountain runs, it would be hard to find fault in the Kia Stonic EX. For P925,000 (before Safeguard Tariffs), it’s a top-tier choice in its price range. There’s no denying that the ground clearance helps make a lot of things easier on the road, but its solid build, feature package, and good performance only add to its allure.